The Way of the Warrior #StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch (Season 4, Episode 1) Worf joins the station crew as the Klingons prepare for war

Rewatching ST:DS9

We cold open into an action sequence, as security teams sweep the station with phaser rifles, looking for a Changeling.

Sisko, now with a shaved head and goatee (actor Avery Brooks’s preferred personal style), enjoys a dinner with Kassidy Yates in his quarters, until he’s interrupted by a vague message from Dax.

A huge Klingon ship, which has apparently patiently waited for Sisko to arrive in Ops, decloaks. On board is General Martok, who requests shore leave for his crew.

As Bashir and O’Brien amuse themselves at the bar, Quark observes the visiting Klingons are unnervingly quiet.

In a meeting with Sisko and Kira, Martok cuts his hand with a knife, demonstrating that he is not a Changeling. Sisko and Kira do the same. Martok says his forces are here to fight the Changelings, but the scene at the bar has just conditioned us to be suspicious. Sisko, as usual, plays it cool.

Dax tries to get Kira to relax in a holosuite recreation of a Trill spa, but Kira is not interested in playing along with holographic puppets. As a child she didn’t imagine much other than that “the Cardassians would stop killing the Bajorans and just go away.”

In a not-at-all awkward retro-active explanation of how the Changeling masquerading as Bashir faked extracting blood from Eddington in the previous episode (s3 e22 “The Adversary“), Odo demonstrates to Garak that he can simulate drinking from a cup and refilling it. And the angle at which the actor stiffly holds his arm to accommodate the tube up his sleeve is not at all awkward, either.

We learn that the Cardassians, badly hurt after their disastrous attempt to attack the Changeling homeworld, have sealed their borders, and we see the Klingon Drex and some buddies harassing the hapless Morn.

Odo steps in to defuse the tension, with Garak assisting.

Later, the Klingons jump Garak in his shop and beat him up.

Garak won’t press charges, saying that Bashir has healed all the damage they did, but that “I got off several cutting remarks which no doubt did serious damage to their egos.”

The Defiant responds to a distress call from Cassidy Yates; a Klingon ship intends to board her ship to search it for Changelings — but they have no such authority in Bajoran space.

The Klingon commander, having once again politely waited for Sisko to be on hand because TV, reluctantly backs down.

Later, back at the station, Martok jabs a dagger into Sisko’s table. Dax identifies it as belonging to the Klingon commander who just backed down, and reasons that Martok had him executed.

Sisko gets an idea and contacts Starfleet.

Shortly thereafter, we see a Federation officer arrive through an airlock. It’s Worf. Since the events of Star Trek: Generations, he has been meditating at a Klingon monastery and contemplating whether he wants to keep living his life among humans.

Reluctantly Worf joins O’Brien and Bashir at darts, and meets Kira and Dax in wimpled medieval costumes.

Dax: She knocked out Lancelot.
Kira: He kissed me…. I was playing a married woman!

Worf also spots the Klingon bully Drex, punches him in the face, and after a brief fight, confiscates his dagger.

Martok shows up in Worf’s quarters, demanding his son’s property. Having captured his attention, Worf notes that Martok’s forces are disrupting the peace. Martok says he’s following the orders of Gowron, who has plans for the Alpha Quadrant.

Dax joins an unusually crabby Worf during a holosuite workout, and puts up enough of a fight that Worf is willing to listen to her advice. His official inquires have lead nowhere, but Dax suggests instead he find “someone who owes your family a favor.”

That someone turns out to be a friend of Worf’s father, who after much drink and singing, prepares to tell Worf what’s going on (but the scene ends before we actually learn anything).

Odo observes Worf looking thoughtful. Having deduced that Worf has learned something troubling, Odo offers some sympathy, in his own crusty way: “I’ve also had to choose between duty and loyalty to my people.”

Professing not to care which side Worf chooses, the constable insists that Sisko deserves to know.

Worf tells Sisko the Klingons, having learned of an uprising on Cardassia, plan take advantage of the turmoil by invading.

In the Wardroom, Martok hears out Sisko’s explanation of Starfleet’s position (the Founders operate by sowing discord between allies), but his forces head for Cardassia immediately.

The Federation has ordered Sisko not to get involved, but Sisko arranges to have Garak overhear that a huge Klingon task force will reach Cardassia within the hour.

Garak warns Dukat, and the Cardassians mobilize in time to slow down the Klingon forces.

The Federation condemns the invasion, and diplomatic relations with the Klingon Empire collapse.

Gowron arrives and requests Worf to visit on his ship. The two speak honorably of each other, until Worf refuses to join Gowron. In response, Gowron strips Worf’s house of its titles and privileges.

Brooding at Quark’s, Worf reminisces with O’Brien, who makes a good meta-joke about how the holodecks on the Enterprise-D always malfunctioned. Worf is considering resigning from the Federation and signing up with the remote “Nyberrian Alliance.”

Sisko says he can’t accept Worf’s resignation “at this time,” saying he needs every good officer he has during this crisis. Worf advises that when the Klingons reach Cardassia Prime, they will probably execute all government officials.

Sisko reaches Dukat, who is now serving the new civilian government, and offers to help him get the council members to safety.

Sisko drops a hint about “new systems” recently installed on the station, tells Kira to start evacuating civilians to safety, and shares a quick kiss with Kasssidy on his way to the Defiant.

Worf is a bit unsettled by the Defiant’s cloaking device. On the way to the rendezvous point, they pass the wreckage of several Cardassian ships, but they can’t even scan for survivors without decloaking.

Dukat is not exactly grateful, but the rescue mission is a success.

Back on the station, we see this wonderful bit of character-based world-building.

Quark: Take a sip of this.
Garak: What is it?
QUARK: A human drink. It’s called “root beer.”
Garak: I don’t know.
Quark: Come on. Aren’t you just a little bit curious?
(Garak tries a sip.)
Quark: What do you think?
Garak: It’s vile.
Quark: I know, it’s so bubbly and cloying and happy.
Garak: Just like the Federation.
Quark: But you know what’s really frightening? If you drink enough of it you begin to like it.
Garak: It’s insidious.
Quark: Just like the Federation.
Garak: Do you think they’ll be able to save us?
Quark: I hope so.

The Defiant, without its cloaking device, is racing home. A Klingon fleet is waiting for them at the station, and O’Brien and Kira chatter again about the still-unspecified “new systems.”

Bashir warns his medical teams to prepare for lacerations and broken bones because the Klingons prefer hand-to-hand combat. Odo warns Bashir the Klingon’s won’t spare medics, and Bashir cautions Odo that the Klingons would think killing a Changeling would be worth a song.

Odo: Doctor, if a Klingon were to kill me, I’d expect nothing less than an entire opera on the subject.
Bashir: Maybe. I just don’t want to have to listen to it. Watch your back.

Which is, we know, how tough, emotionally distant adventure space-bros say, “I love you.”

A bit of comedy ensues from Quark learning that his brother Rom has scavenged his self-defense disruptor for parts.

Quark: I will kill him.
Odo: With what?

Garak surprises Dukat by showing up outside the door where the council members have been secured, and offering to fight at his side, against the Klingon invaders.

The secret “new systems” turn out to be weapons turrets, which we see at a level of detail we don’t usually get from Star Trek.

The space battles feature dozens of attacking Klingon ships, with unusually complex camera angles. I remember being very impressed by this battle sequence, and it still held up almost 30 years later. I did notice that many of the ships in the background look a bit static, like they are cutouts, but there’s much pew-pew to admire.

The Klingon boarding parties don’t really seem to be that much of a threat, as they tend to get taken out quickly by long-range phasers, but more keep coming, and there’s plenty of physical combat.

Federation reinforcements are only a few minutes away.

Sisko urges Gowron to stand down, noting that the Dominon’s strategy is to have allies in the Alpha Quadrant attack each other.

Worf supplies Gowron with the right motive: “Kahless himself said destroying an empire to win a war is no victory.”

General Martok is not happy, but Gowron agrees to stand down.

Space Dad Sisko convinces Worf that he can’t escape his trauma by resigning from Starfleet, and in the next scene Worf, now in command red, reports for duty in Ops.

We get a final infodump that indicates the Cardassian government is grateful, Garak is likely still banished, and the Klingons have refused to give up some of the Cardassian territory they siezed during the invasion.

A great double-length episode that starts the fourth season with a bang.

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